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36                    HISTORY OF PERSIA                  CHAP.
but also in Persia, the remote Kerman province in
particular being periodically troubled by the appearance
of these visionaries in dangerously large bands.
The Last Tears of Alt 3 Caliphate.—AH had raised a
large force for invading Syria once more, but after the
diversion against the Kharijites it melted away so rapidly
that the entire expedition had to be abandoned* The
Arabs, indeed, were curiously indifferent to AIL In
the following year, A.H. 38 (658), he lost Egypt^ through
an unwise change of Governors, and this misfortune
preyed upon his mind ; but he made no grand effort to
retrieve his position. In the course of the same year
rebellion was stirred up in Southern Persia by Khirrit, an
Arab chief whose views resembled those of the Kharijites.
Up to this point, it would seem, only Moslems had
fought in these civil wars, but Khirrit raised Persians,
Kurds, and Christians, and drove the Arab Governor out
of Pars, and much blood was shed before he was slain
and order re-established. Ziad, an illegitimate half-
brother of Muavia, whom All now appointed to Pars,
showed great capacity both in restoring peace and in the
administration of the country; indeed he was compared
to Noshirwan. In A.H, 40 (660) AH made peace with
Muavia, and it seemed as though at last his troubles were
His Assassination^ A.H. 40 (66i).~The fanatical Khari-
jites, seeing that they could not force their doctrines on
the empire, were in hopeless mood. Three of them
discussed the gloomy situation, and resolved each to kill
a leader of Islam, AH, Muavia, and Amr being the
selected victims. Amr escaped through being absent on
the day they had fixed for the deed, Muavia was wounded
and recovered, but Ali was mortally stabbed- With the
magnanimity which characterized him, he gave orders
that, if he died, the assassin should be executed but not
tortured. After making his will, the unfortunate Caliph
passed away and with him ended the period of theocracy
in Islam.                                      c
His Character.—AK stands out as the Caliph who
was too noble and high-minded for his surroundings.